AUGUSTA — Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, introduced Buy American, Build Maine legislation at a press conference, followed by a public hearing before the Legislature’s State and Local Government Committee on Wednesday. LD 1411, “An Act To Establish the Maine Buy American and Build Maine Act” would give preference to Maine-based businesses, workers and American manufacturing when the state awards procurement contracts. The idea is about supporting Maine workers, Maine-based businesses, and quality, good-paying Maine jobs wherever taxpayer dollars are spent.
“Buy American, Build Maine is about lifting up the workers, businesses and quality, manufactured products in our own backyard,” said President Jackson. “Throughout this pandemic, Maine workers, businesses and manufacturers have stepped up to serve and support our communities. We owe it to them to have their backs.”
Several states have already adopted legislation that either gives preference to companies based in that state for public contracts or gives preference to American manufactured goods. According to the National Association of State Procurement Officials, at least 38 states already provide some sort of preference to in-state businesses. With this legislation, Maine would be giving Maine and workers the same leg up that many other states are giving their businesses and workers.
“This proposal is simple. If there is work that needs to be done in this state and in this country, and taxpayers are footing the bill, then the people living, working and paying taxes in this state and country should have the opportunity to do the job. And if there are materials or parts needed to do the job, those materials should be American-made whenever possible,” said President Jackson. “Other states and countries already look out for their workers and businesses. Mainers deserve for their government to look out for them.”
Buy American policies have been in place at the federal level dating back to 1933. In January, President Biden signed an Executive Order in strengthening “Buy American” policies across the federal government. The Biden Administration unveiled the “American Jobs Plan” earlier this month, making it clear that the federal government is headed in a new direction — one that recognizes the quality and value of American workers and goods.
Buy American, Build Maine legislation is supported by Kathie Leonard, Auburn Manufacturing, Inc.; Ben Waxman, American Roots; Chris Lausier, C. Lausier Family, Inc.; Dan Kleban, Maine Beer Company; Devin McNeill, Flowfold; Brian Lombardozzi, Alliance for American Manufacturing; Tim Kuebler, Dragon Cement; Maine AFL-CIO; Machinists’ Union Local S-89; Ironworkers Local 7.
LD 1411 will undergo additional work sessions in committee before moving to the floor of the House and Senate for votes.